Late Night Hosts Pay Tribute to Norm Macdonald After His Death: 'He Was the Gold Standard'

“All Norm ever wanted to do was make us laugh and he was absolutely brilliant at it," James Cordon said on The Late Late Show 

Norm Macdonald Weekend Update
Norm Macdonald. Photo: Al Levine/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty

Late night hosts dedicated portions of their Tuesday shows to honoring late comedian Norm Macdonald after the news of his unexpected death.

Macdonald, best known for his time anchoring the Weekend Update segment on Saturday Night Live in the 1990s, died earlier in the day at the age of 61 following a private, nine-year cancer battle.

During The Late Late Show, James Corden called him an "absolute comedy legend."

"All Norm ever wanted to do was make us laugh and he was absolutely brilliant at it," he said. "There was nobody quite like him. I felt privileged every time I got to be in his orbit. He leaves us as one of the all-time greatest comics, perhaps the single greatest guest in the history of late-night television, I think."

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"We'll miss you, Norm, so much," continued Corden, 43. "Thank you so much for the laughs, Norm. We'll never, ever forget them."

Jimmy Fallon, meanwhile, addressed Macdonald's death at the close of his monologue, revealing that he was one of his "comedy idols." The Tonight Show host, who also hosted Weekend Update when he was on SNL, went on to recite one of Macdonald's old jokes that he had committed to memory years ago.

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"He was a comic's comic and everyone absolutely loved him top to bottom and he will be missed," Fallon, 46, concluded.

On The Late Show, Stephen Colbert shared that he was a guest writer for SNL for several weeks while Macdonald was working on the show. He recalled Macdonald welcoming him to write specifically for Weekend Update.

"He is in my opinion the greatest host of Weekend Update that SNL ever had, not to take anything away from the rest, but he was my cup of tea," said Colbert, 57. "I liked the fact that he would tell jokes that he, in the nicest possible way, didn't seem to care if the audience liked them, but he liked the joke. They were dark, sometimes too dark for me, but they were strange and he just had a wonderful presence and again took me in."

"I wish I were a good enough comedian to come up with a joke right now about Norm Macdonald having died," he continued. "But the only comedian I know who could get away with a 'Norm Macdonald is dead' joke is Norm Macdonald. I'm going to miss the fact that there's nobody left on the planet who can do that and the comedy world is poorer for it today."

Seth Meyers, another Weekend Update alum, similarly recalled Macdonald's unique comedic style.

"He told me once that his favorite thing about SNL is that it's the last place on TV where you can bomb," Meyers said on Late Night, later adding, "If he thought the jokes were good, he had just as much fun telling them to a dead audience than to one who appreciated them."

"He was the gold standard and he will continue to be the gold standard and I would just suggest that everybody go watch him tell the moth story on Conan, go watch any number of Norm Macdonald things tonight because they are really truly timeless," Meyers, 47, concluded. "Rest In Peace Norm."

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